Cf. theatre of terror: insofar as our relationship to capitalism, negotiated by consumer items, involves a similar inflationary principle to that between the mother and infant in Melanie Klein’s ‘theatre of terror’

As Daniel Harris concedes at the beginning of his excellent book on the aesthetics of consumerism, Cute, Quaint, Hungry and Romantic, it is ridiculous to “single out corporations as the source of all that is crude, manipulative, and mercenary in our society, while … whitewash[ing] the consumer as a helpless victim. … If there is a conspiracy, we ourselves are its tacticians, as well as its beneficiaries. The aesthetics of consumerism are not foisted upon us; they emerge out of a rich and imaginative collaboration between the forces of capitalism and our own fears and desires. If there is kitsch in our daily lives, it is because there is kitsch in our minds.” One has only to visit Reverend Billy’s amusing and informative Web site (, with its sincere invitation to “confess your shopping sins” via e-mail, to appreciate his grasp of this complicity.

– Jonathan Kalb, Play by Play: Theatre Essays & Reviews, 1993-2002, Limelight Editions, New York, 2003, p. 113